Six Vietnamese villagers, including three children, were killed Friday when a US war-era bomb exploded in a mountainous area along the country’s south central coast, state media reported. Early reports said authorities believe the ordnance detonated after villagers discovered it in their farmland in Khanh Hoa province.
“The initial reason for the blast, which killed six, was that people were cutting open the 105 mm shell”, reported VGPNews, the government’s online mouthpiece.
Local police refused to comment on the accident, which also left two villagers wounded and tore down a house in Ta Luong village, according to state media. Since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, more than 42,000 people have been killed and over 62,100 injured by unexploded ordnance dropped by US aircraft, according government figures.
Most of the blasts are triggered by people striking the bombs while farming or trying to salvage the metal casings and explosives from the munitions. The metal is usually sold for scrap, while the explosives are used by fishermen. According to the government, half of the 15 million tonnes of bombs dropped by American forces are still embedded in farmland and jungle across Vietnam’s central provinces.